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Old 02-08-2021, 12:24 PM   #121
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Also consider upgrades to lower future maintenance.

My F-I-L is now in his 80s but over a decade ago carefully measured the windows in his brick-sided ranch house, custom ordered vinyl replacement windows, and installed the replacement windows himself...so he'd no longer have to deal with exposed wood window trim.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:15 PM   #122
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No data to back it up, but I've always heard under 10 feet feet breaks bones, over 10 feet kills.
...
My last few years at w*rk the requirement was 100% tie-off if potential for 6+ feet fall. Penalty for not following requirement was lose of employment. After a few folks were shown the door compliance with the rule got very good.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:25 PM   #123
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The actual top of the step ladder?



I'm not singling out you specifically, but what I'm getting from reading some of these posts is that too many people are using ladders incorrectly, or shouldn't be on them in the first place.


Yep I admit I was stupid - never stepped on the top of a ladder before then or since. But it was for something simple like plugging in my garage door opener. And my bigger step ladder wasnít around, so I did it. That will never happen again.
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Old 02-09-2021, 06:29 AM   #124
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I told DW about it later, she made me promise that I would never get on a ladder again without having a cell phone in my pocket.
Hey, this is good advice for a lot of things! I carry one when biking, and I've modified my locked screen to include DW's phone number. I'll keep one too when using the table saw... assuming I have enough fingers left to call. (Not joking here, it is a good idea.) Even walking has risks. One of the first signs of spring here is when the gum tree fruits drop (gum balls). It is like walking on marbles out there, very dangerous.

Hey all, we all need to take some risk in life. I think it comes down to how much. Ladders can kill, but so can cars. I need exercise, and with the pools full of virus, I'm biking. It is very dangerous! But so is heart disease.

I'm seeing this home maintenance thing as more of a sliding scale as I age. Unless I get some disease that rules out all activity, my plan is to glide path out of maintenance. It invigorates me for now! Yesterday, I spent some quality time with the table saw manufacturing barriers to the chipmunks attempting to build a colony under my house. Great exercise on a beautiful 50 degree day. Better than staying inside.
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Old 02-09-2021, 11:15 AM   #125
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Ack. Tankless hot water heater blew up last night. (I installed it, more than >15 years ago.) Now scrambling to line up a replacement and accouterments (that is the English spelling!), and wondering if I really want to do this myself in single-digit temperatures?!
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Old 02-09-2021, 12:40 PM   #126
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Home maintenance tip: It may be a good idea to remove and clean faucets every few years to keep them easily removable. I think mine are over 15 years old and the handle removing tool got bent out of shape. I had to re-bend it and use wire and strap for bracing and turn the handle with large pliers. I had my safety glasses on. The pressure required was a little scary. I think normally the pipe under the sink is cut in this situation, instead of trying to rig up some clamping.

It worked but the handle was slightly chipped from the slippage. The handles are from a Gerber 42-426 faucet.
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Old 02-09-2021, 03:58 PM   #127
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Home maintenance tip: It may be a good idea to remove and clean faucets every few years to keep them easily removable. I think mine are over 15 years old and the handle removing tool got bent out of shape. I had to re-bend it and use wire and strap for bracing and turn the handle with large pliers. I had my safety glasses on. The pressure required was a little scary. I think normally the pipe under the sink is cut in this situation, instead of trying to rig up some clamping.

It worked but the handle was slightly chipped from the slippage. The handles are from a Gerber 42-426 faucet.
I just ended up using a ton of PB Blaster when it came time to replace the dozen or so (Kohler) valves on all my sinks.
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Old 02-09-2021, 05:30 PM   #128
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Am I overreacting? How have others managed this transition from DIY to depending on others?

You are not overreacting. It is better to think of it now, and prepare. A condo is a great idea. Wife and I bought one just for the reasons you describe. Don't want to be stuck taking care of a house that we are too old to take care of. Do want to be comfortable and fairly worry free. Condos do that, so long as you buy the right one - that's the trick.
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Old 02-09-2021, 07:10 PM   #129
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I used to do many of these things myself earlier and even enjoyed it a lot; I did the mowing, the tree planting and trimming, and most interior things including finishing everything in a 2000 square foot sun room and walk out basement, including electric, extensive tile work, a cedar sauna, and a large bar and game room which has a lot of stained oak paneling on the walls. But looking back, to some extent it was a matter of proving to myself that I can do it, and now I have other interests that I want to use my time for.

So my view has evolved, and now for me the answer has two parts. Currently they are a matter of choice, but they would similarly apply to the time down the road when I just couldn't do these things anymore.

First, have a really good handyman. After literally years of trying, I have succeeded at both the place up north and the one in Florida, one of them has been with me for twelve years, and the other for three years. The quality of the handyman matters a lot, I have tried many others before, but after a while you get a sense of their quality and you know a good handyman when you see him. One of them charges about $20/hour, but he is so reliable I don't even measure his time or get an estimate ahead of time, he just bills after the fact and is very fair. The other charges $30/hour, which is a bit on the higher end, but he is super efficient, very conscientious, and also very fair. I make sure to show them that I appreciate their work, by giving them little extras, donate some of my tools I don't need anymore, give them a pie when I bake, and give presents for kids birthdays and Christmas etc. Just being a nice human being, good folks will recognize it and return the favor in form of quality work, and those that don't recognize it are usually not worth keeping.

Second, strategically hire out most of the recurring services. The first was snow plowing up north. I have had the same guy for more than 25 years, and since that time he hasn't raised his price once. He still does my 600 foot long driveway including a circle in front of the house for $20, and often in the middle of the night if a storm is coming through. No way I would do that myself. Next came mowing. I used to do that with a lawn tractor, but it took me more than three hours including trimming, and there is just so much maintenance on a lawn tractor and even the gas just adds up. Now I have a company that does it for $100 a pop. Sure it's serious money, but I just don't want to work for such a long time and then risk getting teased by the daughters for having a "farmer's tan" yet again :-)

Down south all the landscaping, trimming, irrigation is taken care of by the HOA, and (if you speak enough Spanish) you can even get them to do it the way you like. So that place is also lock up ready and I can leave at any time I please. But I still use the handyman for the interior things: the place has very high ceilings and I just don't feel like monkeying around on a tall ladder, and I think I have done my life's share of interior painting and all the other similar stuff as well.
A 600 foot driveway for $20? Surely thatís a typo. Maybe $120? Around here, thereís a company that charges not only by the size of driveway but the charge goes up depending on inches of snow. Prices range from $85 for a small driveway with 6 inches to $325 for a small driveway with 28-36 inches. Your snow removal guy is ripping himself off.
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Old 02-09-2021, 08:51 PM   #130
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I use these foam things in my gutters from Home Depot: https://www.homedepot.com/p/GUTTERST...0957/206851179

Our local Home Depot sells them individually in the roofing area, $6 for 4 feet. I can see my garage gutters from an upstairs window so I installed them on the garage. We had several of those short, massive BAWHOOSH downpours and the water just went right down the foam. The triangle hypotenuse forms a channel for the water to run along the front inside of the gutter. Snow, ice, rain, locust leaves, maple leaves, they just work. I now have them on all of my gutters.

I snipped them where they went underneath the gutter nails to put a seam under the nail and that seemed to help the fit.

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I think about it as well
Old 02-10-2021, 06:39 AM   #131
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I think about it as well

I am a little older at 67 but in better shape than most. I still do all the work around our large house and multiple acres, including electrical and plumbing (everything short of installing a whole house generator which took a lot of work on the two full electric boxes we had, as well as running a natural gas line to the opposite side of the long, one story house. Probably could have done it myself but when you do a job only once, sometimes it just is better to hire an expert for the whole job.) I feel I can continue for some time using the lawn tractor, felling trees, and so forth, but the end of being able to do such things does worry me. For what it is worth we have a lot of neighbors in their 70s who still do a lot of work themselves. But I suppose one good injury or ailment will curtail that. Best of luck in your decision either way.

Two things the wife and I have thought long and hard about that would allow us to get away from such work:
1. Move out of the country and rent.
2. Go homeless and just travel. We already have a lot of timeshare points so we could either buy more, AirbNb, etc.
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Old 02-10-2021, 07:36 AM   #132
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We had screens on our gutters, when I built an addition and redid the shingles on whole house to match 15 years ago, splurged on Leafguard. Cost almost $3k but worth every penny. I actually did have to clean one this year, discovered that where a valley emptied, granules had built up forming a dam. Had to use the pressure washer to get it cleared. Anyway.....

Very timely thread for me. It's not about the money, it's the psychology of having others do what I can do. That, and the frustration of having it done correctly. Just yesterday discovered that a HVAC duct had dropped off the register, hanging by a thread of duct tape. As I struggled into the crawl space (only about 30") and prepped to reattach, actually thought about calling someone but then figured the 20 minutes it took me was not worth the hassle. And I hate hate hate those plastic accordion ducts; when built our house in FL installed real sheet metal ducts and insulated.

I'm currently struggling with designing a conversion of the addition that was built for MIL to a downstairs master suite, which would allow us to age in place wo stairs. Involves electrical, tiling, plumbing, moving windows and removing a door, all stuff I've done my almost 70 years. It sort of scares me in that it's a complicated project, but it just seems like it would be a lot of fun to take it on. If I do, I'll be nervous and thinking about re-doing plumbing in the crawl space. Yeah, I could hire someone to do the rough in but where's the fun in that? Then I think about not doing it, and it feels like something of a major surrender, psychological defeat if you will. The whole decision process is causing me something of an existential crisis. It just occurred to me that if I won some kind of TV show sweepstakes where the best contractor around would come do it for free, I'd probably turn it down. Because. I'm just not ready to give up. Besides, I wouldn't like the way he did the work!

I see the same sort of angst in previous posts here, just thought I'd add my dilemma. As I re-read this, it was sort of cathartic. Design On!!!
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Old 02-10-2021, 08:06 AM   #133
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I am a little older at 67 but in better shape than most. I still do all the work around our large house and multiple acres, including electrical and plumbing (everything short of installing a whole house generator which took a lot of work on the two full electric boxes we had, as well as running a natural gas line to the opposite side of the long, one story house. Probably could have done it myself but when you do a job only once, sometimes it just is better to hire an expert for the whole job.) I feel I can continue for some time using the lawn tractor, felling trees, and so forth, but the end of being able to do such things does worry me. For what it is worth we have a lot of neighbors in their 70s who still do a lot of work themselves. But I suppose one good injury or ailment will curtail that. Best of luck in your decision either way.

Two things the wife and I have thought long and hard about that would allow us to get away from such work:
1. Move out of the country and rent.
2. Go homeless and just travel. We already have a lot of timeshare points so we could either buy more, AirbNb, etc.
I suggest you read a book by Lynn Martin called ."Home sweet anywhere". They sold there home and did exactly that.
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Old 02-10-2021, 08:12 AM   #134
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We are in our 60's and juts downsized to a small cottage on a tiny lot. HOA takes care of lawn- which is so tiny anyway it's no big deal. But we are responsible for the home. It is brand new so hopefully things will last awhile.


Here in the community we are in, which is like a 55+ but is technically not- everyone helps each other with handyman work whenever they can. But getting good and affordable outside help in this area is difficult and our only child who lives nearby has no clue about home maintenance.


We had looked at a couple of 62+ communities where you paid a large buy in fee and then a monthly fee and they took care of the the entire home- inside and out. Your refrigerator breaks- they fix it or replace it. The roof is leaking- they take care of it.


Most of the people in those places were much older then us- late 70's and 80's. Considering that and the huge expense of living in those we opted for what we have now.



As someone else mentioned I am worried about who will handle our finances because our son is not inclined for this either. And as far as the house, I guess there will come a time we might have to leave and go into assisted living or maybe one of those 62+ places. I don't think there is any good answer to this in our case.
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Old 02-10-2021, 09:40 AM   #135
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A 600 foot driveway for $20? Surely that’s a typo. Maybe $120? Around here, there’s a company that charges not only by the size of driveway but the charge goes up depending on inches of snow. Prices range from $85 for a small driveway with 6 inches to $325 for a small driveway with 28-36 inches. Your snow removal guy is ripping himself off.
Ha, it's not a typo! In fact the guy is a local farmer and does all kinds of jobs year round including excavator projects, and he makes a pretty penny with plowing. I am on a private road, and he also plows that road for the association, and offers the folks living there to do the drives in the same swoop. With his old and beaten up but heavy pickup truck with attached snow blade, he is done with my driveway in 5 min. The length doesn't figure so much into his effort, on the straight portion he is going a good 20mph, it's the turning and backing out of the drives that takes time. Mine has a circle at the end and so he can just go almost in one shot. He tries to stay under 12 inches in one plowing, and over the years he came twice in one night a few times. So $20 for 5 min work isn't too bad. It takes him a total of 20-30 min to do the whole road and a handful of neighbors, and he grosses about $250 for it all, a pretty decent hourly rate.
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Old 02-10-2021, 09:53 AM   #136
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I use these foam things in my gutters from Home Depot: https://www.homedepot.com/p/GUTTERST...0957/206851179
I use these in our gutters too and overall they perform very well. Certainly better than the old screens I originally had on the gutters. I still need to clean the debris that builds up on top of the foam once or twice a year, but at least the gutter keeps flowing. The other issue is weeds and small trees sometimes grow in the foam. Essentially it's a hydroponic garden.

The only place I have issues is where the roof valleys dump into the gutters. The valleys funnel all the debris into one spot on top of the foam which quickly causes water to overshoot the gutter and splash all over the place. I've tried all kinds of things with flashing dams on the outside, flashing to prevent water going behind the gutter, etc. but nothing helped. For now I've gone back to a screen over the small section below the gutter, but use the foam filters everywhere else. Short term seems to be working, but we'll see how long that lasts.
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Old 02-10-2021, 10:08 AM   #137
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...
Two things the wife and I have thought long and hard about that would allow us to get away from such work:
1. Move out of the country and rent.
2. Go homeless and just travel. We already have a lot of timeshare points so we could either buy more, AirbNb, etc.
I have always been dreaming about going to a foreign country in the Caribbean where such things are still (relatively) affordable, and having a nice beachfront home, or even a small island. But I fear the maintenance nightmares and logistics of finding handymen would just exponentially increase compared to the good old US, so I guess this will stay a wild and unfulfilled dream.

So for fun when retirement comes, I like the idea of "temporary homeless". From having "done time" long enough in Marriott hotels for my job, I have lifetime titanium elite status with them, which gives free access to their executive lounges with breakfast and evening food, which is of surprisingly high quality and more quantity and variety than my stomach ever needs. In foreign countries, these lounges are often outright luxurious and even include beer, wine and hard liquor for free - I'll never forget the scenes of US expats in a Shanghai Marriott apparently having the time of their life being totally wasted from the free whiskey. This together with the fact that even after retirement I continue to qualify for government rate which works wonders abroad and the fact that they have their own Airbnb-type branch makes it a good way to be "temporarily homeless". Two years ago I spent five months in the SF Bay Area just staying that way, which cost wise ended up comparable to renting an apartment. It's of course very flexible and less hassle for food hunting, and I purposely moved around to sample several areas there. (And by the way, I concluded that the Bay Area is not something where I'd like to go back to, after I had lived there for a few years many moons ago and still had romantic feelings for).

But all this is of course on hold due to Covid, and so the OMY status continues to continue... no need to be retired during this misery just to rub it in more about all the things we are missing.
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Old 02-10-2021, 02:27 PM   #138
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I use these in our gutters too and overall they perform very well. Certainly better than the old screens I originally had on the gutters. I still need to clean the debris that builds up on top of the foam once or twice a year, but at least the gutter keeps flowing. The other issue is weeds and small trees sometimes grow in the foam. Essentially it's a hydroponic garden.

The only place I have issues is where the roof valleys dump into the gutters. The valleys funnel all the debris into one spot on top of the foam which quickly causes water to overshoot the gutter and splash all over the place. I've tried all kinds of things with flashing dams on the outside, flashing to prevent water going behind the gutter, etc. but nothing helped. For now I've gone back to a screen over the small section below the gutter, but use the foam filters everywhere else. Short term seems to be working, but we'll see how long that lasts.



For the first time in our lives we have no gutters- new house. Been a year and seems to be just fine.


Our former home we eventually had gutter guards installed and they worked well except for dirt and debri like pine needles, wasp nests, etc. could still get in. This meant my husband still had to get on a ladder with a hose to flush them. He never did the second story as it would have been too dangerous.
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Old 02-10-2021, 03:38 PM   #139
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I suggest you read a book by Lynn Martin called ."Home sweet anywhere". They sold there home and did exactly that.
Appreciate the headsup. I'll check it out.
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Old 02-10-2021, 05:43 PM   #140
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For the first time in our lives we have no gutters- new house. Been a year and seems to be just fine.
My in-laws house is over 100 years old and has never had gutters. They have wide 2' overhangs all around which helps, but wind still blows the runoff against the lower section of the house. The paint on the lower 2-3 feet of the wall tends to start peeling long before the higher, more sheltered, areas do. All this despite being on a 3' high foundation.

Also, since they have no front porch, you get dripped on any time you're trying to enter the front door. The stain on the front porch gets washed away quickly, and the lower part of the door is usually dirty from splash back.

They live in an area with really sandy soil so it drains nicely. Still their basement is always a bit damp. In normal situations you could end up with foundation problems, wet crawlspaces, etc.

Keeping water away from your house is the best thing you can do to ensure it lasts a long time.
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